2011-07-25 GENERAL HOUSE

Origins of the Marist Brothers

A work entitled “Origines des Frères Maristes”has just appeared. Its subtitle gives precise expression to this work which has been long in the making: Collected writings of St Marcellin Champagnat, 1789-1840, presented by Brother Paul Sester f.m.s. It consists of three large volumes. The first brings together documentation under the heading: From personal project to Congregation (566 pages); the second under: Affirmation of the identity of a religious family (785 pages); and the third: Structuring and development of the Marist Brothers  (699 pages). This work forms part of the collection « Fontes Historici Societatis Mariae », whose criteria it follows as to format, type of paper and binding,  dimensions and graphical criteria. It was printed by the presses of the Scuola Tipografica S. Pio X, in Rome.

The work best known to the Brothers in the collection « Fontes Historici Societatis Mariae », is « Origines Maristes (1786-1836) », produced by Fathers J. Coste and G. Lessard, which assembles all the documents relating to the origins of the Society of Mary. Among them are numerous documents refering to the Brothers. In 1985, with the approval of the authors, Br Paul Sester produced an extract of the documents which had a bearing on the history of the Brothers’ origins, and published it in the same collection under the title: « Origines Maristes (1786-1836), Extraits concernant le Frères Maristes ». The work presented now has the novelty of being the complete collection of Marcellin’s writings. Thus, it surpasses and completes the information contained in the 1985 publication.

Br Paul Sester, who was Archivist General from 1985 to 1988, states in his introduction that « assembling the writings of  Marcellin Champagnat… is a very delicate work since it is a matter of taking account of very short writings, on loose sheets scattered among documents of all types. Their importance comes from the fact that the most insignificant writing of a person reveals something about him… ». The methodology used to assemble and organise  the documentation follows the criterion of  chronology.

This collection of texts is a collective work, thanks to the collaboration, under Br Paul Sester’s co-ordination, of Brothers  Jean Rousson, of the commuity of Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – responsible for correction of the copy of the manuscrits ; Louis Richard, of the Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux community –  typographical corrections and organisation of the assembled work; and finally Claude Morisson, of the community of Saint-Priest – establishment of the various indexes.

This work will be very useful to researchers. They will have available a rich collection of  documentation, most of it already translated into the four languages, without having to refer to the General Archives of the Marist Brothers in Rome. It will also be an excellent resource for all persons wanting to approach the sources of the Marist charism of the Brothers.

Download PDF
Vol. I (1,1 MB)
Vol. II (1,7 MB)
Vol. III (1,4 MB)
Illustrations (800 kb)


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